Budding entrepreneurs are being invited to the biggest ever roadshow organised by a successful Barnsley business start-up programme.
SmartStart open days will be held in the town centre and across the borough in September.
Anyone interested in setting up their own business – or who has recently set up a new business – is encouraged to come along and find out more about the free business support available to them in Barnsley.
SmartStart, run by Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC), has helped more than 200 new businesses set up in the last three years.
The programme provides one-to-one business mentoring plus an intensive eight-week course of business start-up workshops covering all aspects of running a business, including business planning, finance, marketing and sales.
SmartStart open days will be held in Barnsley town centre on September 7th, 8th and 9th; and also in Penistone town centre on Thursday September 10th; and at BBIC in Wilthorpe on Tuesday September 15th.
Would-be business owners can just drop-in on the day or get in touch and book a one-hour appointment with a business mentor in advance. People interested in setting up new businesses in fitness, food and photography sectors have already been in touch to book places.
BBIC’s SmartStart business development manager, Sarah Valentine-Bull said: “SmartStart is all about reaching out to people in Barnsley who are considering self-employment and setting up their own business.
“This is the first time we have taken our open days out of our home base at BBIC and into the town centre and to Penistone to the west of the borough.
“We hope more people with aspirations to run their own business will find it more convenient to come along and discuss their business ideas with one of our expert advisers.”
In the last three years, SmartStart business advisers have seen more than 600 people at open days. Of these, 340 potential start-ups have found out more about the realities of being their own boss though SmartStart’s business support programme, including expert workshops and one-to-one surgeries. With the benefit of this support, 204 businesses have started trading.
Successful Barnsley business start-ups who have benefitted from SmartStart include first aid skills training agency, Illuminate Training Services, set up by Leigh Humpleby; Greenwood Packaging Consultancy set up by Sarah Greenwood, and expert family support service providers Preferred Futures, set up by a team of specialists in this field.
Entrepreneur, Steph Cronin
Graphic designer Steph Cronin, who now runs her own company Black Bee Creative, after attending the SmartStart programme two years ago, said: “I felt very lucky to start my business with SmartStart support. The encouragement and expertise provided by my mentors throughout the programme helped me establish my business much quicker than I otherwise would have.”
The Barnsley town centre SmartStart open days are to be held in the Better Barnsley shop unit in May Day Green on September 4th, 7th, 8th and 9th and people can drop in or make an appointment anytime between 10am – 4pm.
The Penistone SmartStart open day will be held at the newly-established ‘Penistone 1’ business centre, on Thursday September 10th, from 10am – 4pm.
The open day at Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) on Innovation Way, Wilthorpe will be held on Tuesday September 15th, with extended open hours 9.30am – 7pm to allow people to book appointments in to the evening.
The SmartStart programme of workshops will begin a fortnight later taking place on Tuesday evenings.
The SmartStart programme is managed by the BBIC working in partnership with Barnsley Council and is part of a wider strategy to help grow the local economy, as set out in Barnsley Council’s Jobs and Business Plan 2014-2017.